“You can’t be lonely and be a healthy person,” said wellness coach Denise Schomody in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
She was talking about the major risk that loneliness poses to seniors who suffer from isolation and a decline in social connections. Indeed, millions of seniors are living with the adverse effects of loneliness, which has a major impact not only on their mental health and sense of wellbeing but their physical health, too.
Research Links Social Connection and Health
A 1992 study showed that loneliness is one of the 3 main factors leading to depression, and others indicate that the oldest members of our population are the most likely to live with loneliness. Further research indicates that those feelings of loneliness can eventually increase the risk for cognitive disorders and early death. So what’s the cure for this national epidemic? Finding meaningful connections through communities designed to bring seniors together.
Living in a retirement community like Regency Retirement Village of Morristown means that there are other people around you who might have some of the same visible markers of aging or disability, like nasal cannulas, canes, or walkers. It’s sometimes easier to put yourself out there when you don’t feel like you automatically stand out or can’t keep up. It’s also comforting to know you have a support network from others who understand what it’s like aging gracefully.
Living with other seniors is also beneficial in that it can limit the isolation that easily slips up on seniors who are far from family or friends, or feel left out of their younger family members’ busy schedules. It can be hard adjusting to no longer working or parenting, and living in a lively, busy community can help seniors find new ways to meaningfully spend their time and connect with others. We all need a sense of purpose and inclusivity, and a retirement community can help seniors find their niche.
As we age, we lose loved ones to distance, fallings out, disease, and death. It can be hard to see your support network dwindle while also learning to cope with symptoms of aging and medical conditions. Both can make it harder to maintain a sense of purpose and independence. Something as seemingly small as staying connected and engaged can make a big difference.
As a 1994 study by Hanson and Carpenter noted, positive relationships help us stay more resilient, gliding through everyday frustrations and mishaps that might wear down a person who doesn’t have anyone to turn to.
Help Seniors at Risk of Social Isolation Stay Connected
If you’re concerned about a loved one who seems to be isolated, or you’re struggling to keep up with care for a family member amidst your work schedule, ferrying the kids to school and soccer practice, and maintaining your own marriage and hobbies, a senior living community can provide a healthy solution for everyone. Your beloved senior will be in an environment that helps them live their best life and do the things they most enjoy. You’ll be able to spend quality time together connecting, rather than trying to keep up with the mundane details.
Best of all, you can hopefully have more years together, all by nipping loneliness in the bud, and heading off the health conditions it can contribute to before they decrease lifespan, exacerbate health conditions, and make life less fun and enjoyable. After all, our third act should be a pleasure after years of working hard to get to retirement. A retirement home lets you take full advantage of everything this exciting season has to offer.
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